New F-5 designs

  1. hank
    Hi all,
    I don't know how many of you have played a Goldrush but the tone to my ears is really GOOD! Woodwizard and I were discussing some of the changes in design Danny Roberts used in this design. We had both heard that it originally had been designed by Danny with X bracing and varnish finish as a high end model but had been streamlined into it's present design for marketing reasons. The first thing you notice on the goldrush are it's smaller violin sized f holes. The smaller apertures tune the sound chamber to the bass end much like the A-5. (as per Rodger Siminoff's Loars contributions, his site) We had heard this was done to replicate the original X braced designs sound. Danny if you read this help us out on this. I believe the D. Lawson model also uses this feature but with bound holes. The distance from the bridge to the tail piece is about a 1/4" longer than on my Weber Fern (maybe a bit more active soundboard).
    I guess Woodwizard and I must have had the same inspiration to add Mr. Blohm's Handel style tuners (Great luthier to work with, beautiful work). Any other leading particulars on new Gibson designs out there. Sounds like Danny got it right on the 2002 ferns as well.
  2. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Hank do you have a pic of your Goldrush with the tuners posted anywhere?

    Also I did not realize that the Goldrush had smaller f-holes! Are there any other differences from the "standard" F-5 Fern?

    I once thought that the Goldrush has the wider Bush-style nut but I don't think that is true is it?

    Whatever, I think the Goldrush is a strikingly beautiful mandolin congratulations on that. Too bad they did not stick with the X-bracing concept that would have made a really interesting option for mandolin buyers.
  3. hank
    Woodwizard has better photo's of these tuner buttons on his Rush than my photo on the porch. Both are on our info. page. I'm still elaborating on my truss rod cover it now has a star and wiggle lines above the tulips like in the center of the buttons. I work the design out on paper taped to the cover until I'm happy with it. You are correct about the nut also. I'm not certain if the difference in active soundboard below the bridge is only in relationship with Sound to Earth's Fern dimension or to their(Gibson) "standard" F-5 Fern. Whatever it is, Gibson's ad claiming a sweeter voice holds true on mine.(I find the A & E strings a little harsh on some F-5's.) I guess that is what actually got this thread started (and also the cash out of my wallet). Just wondering how happy other model owners are and how many actually have different tone values from design besides volume and sustain, projection, etc., etc. Sometimes I think it's the luck of the draw and not design.
  4. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Thanks for the information Hank. Just goes to show there are always things that you don't know that you don't know!

    But that is pretty interesting to me because while I am entirely pleased with the sound of my Fern I would not mind finding a comparable sounding Bush model because I really like the 1/8" wider nut. My 1919 F-2 and also my 1952 F-12 both have the wider 1 3/16" version and so then I could switch back and forth easier -- so now the Goldrush is also a possibility for me!

    The "Goldielocks" sure looks stunning. As does the "Bushmaster" of course.
  5. hank
    I think i may have misled you Bernie about the nut on the Rush, it has a thicker nut not a wider nut. Again this is in comparison with my Weber Fern. Measuring from the neck to the back of the nut the W. Fern is approx. 1/8", the Goldrush is 3/16".
  6. hank
    These are the only photo's i have showing the Blohm/Handel buttons Bernie. These are some i was using trying to elaborate on my truss rod cover pattern.
  7. jim_n_virginia
    There's a girl who comes to a jam I go to who has a Goldrush that her husband bought her. She usually plays guitar but her husband works at a music store and gets everything at store cost. She told me he only paid $2,600.00 for her Gold Rush. I've known her for many years and I know she would not lie to me. I guess thats the mark up when you are a distributor

    Anyways it just kills me because she does not know how to play mandolin, in fact she only know a few chords on the guitar but she likes to come hang out and we all love her but her Gold Rush sounds terrible. And it is NOT the instruments fault! LOL!

    The bridge is off by at least 2 inches, the set up is the worst I have every played, the strings haven't been changed since she got it a year and a half ago! The intonation is completely off and the strings are almost flat on the fret board!


    I know it could be a great mandolin if it was set up properly! I have offered to buy it from her but she will not sell. She thinks it is "pretty" LOL!

    Her husband really indulges her because in addition to the Gold Rush she also has a Gibson Master Tone banjo that she also cannot play and a vintage Yairi guitar that he bought her too gathering dust!

    oh well!
  8. hank
    Hey Jim, I have an 2004 Weber fern, Tinker (I know most mandolins don't have names but both of mine do) with I believe a 10' radius and larger frets, maybe .080. I bought my Rush because the tone was much sweeter than Tinkers. The Goldrush (Yellowbell) has a flat board and smaller frets that slow me down a smiggit and makes sliding tremelo and some hammer on's more difficult to play cleanly. I find myself playing Tinker on Blues and Celtic with her Sam Bush Monel strings and Yellowbell with her Bill Monroe bronze and steel strings on old timey and Bluegrass songs. Their both as different as night and day but both really great mandolins. I sometimes get the itch for an oval hole but really Tinker would be hard to beat. It sounds like since you got your Gibson Fern refreted with the stainless wire you have both of my mandolins in one. And yes your friends price break burns a bit but what the heck I have'nt seen many rich people in the music sales business.
  9. hank
    uh O, correction 10" radius
  10. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    jim-n-virginia: "She usually plays guitar but her husband works at a music store and gets everything at store cost."

    So what kind of a guitar does she have then -- a J-200 custom?

    Some claim (not me of course!) that all women are gold diggers searching for a sugar daddy. In this case, the lady seems to have found one. But I give her credit for getting him to sign on to a "long term contract".
  11. woodwizard
    The Pearl nut on the Goldrush is 1-5/64 just a tick wider than the Skaggs MM which is at 1-1/16. The neck is a sort of rounded "V". ... Hank, I really like your TR cover. NICE! We're going to have to get together and compare our blond ferns some day.
  12. hank
    Thanks Mike, the paper pattern is a cheap way to tweek the design. I want the star and bent lines to mirror the buttons. I can't tell a diff. between my mandolins playing them so I measured the outside G to outside E distance of the strings and found that the rush measured 62/64" compared to the fern at 58/64". The fern is approx. 1/16" narrower than the rush despite the stated specs of 1-5/64 and 1-1/8" nut width.
    Give me a heads up when you have some down time. I can head your way or you can come and check out my new porch. I would love to met you and hear your new 91 year old A-4 and your L-5 as well as your rush. I'm new to this area. My wife and i met here 24 years ago when i was up here thermal soaring hanggliders. We moved up after being flooded in Katrina. Our assets were liquidated so to speak so we took the window of opportunity to return here. Now were high on a hilltop with a backporch view of the Poteau mountain range. We'll be at the June Fort Smith Blues Festival friday and sat. if any Cafe'ers would like to get together there.
  13. woodwizard
    We will diffinently have to find time to get together. My youngest son's graduation (highschool) is Friday and lots of relatives are coming over to hang out and eat all weekend so looks like I'm going to be tied up hosting this weekend. Just seen that the Blues Fest is June 26 & 27. Sounds like fun
  14. Benski
    Good evening, Gents. I was thinking this place could use a Goldrush discussion group and I'm happily surprised to see you guys already have one.

    All I can say is that after playing mando for almost 40 yrs now, and having owned my share of nice vintage Gibsons, I have never found any that sound as great and play as nice as the Goldrush I purchased last year. I was lucky enough to get to test drive a good part of the Gibson line-up side by side for a few hours without interruption and with my family - noteably my daughter who's a harpist - on a vacation to TN recently. Everyone kept asking "which one were you just playing" whenever I played the GR. Note that the line-up also included a Fern, a Bibey, a Lawson, a Steffy and a MM. (Interestingly, the "runner up" was the Lawson, also with the smaller f-holes.) Whenever I take the GR to a BG jam, it gets a boatload of attention both because of the wonderful rich sound, but also its awesome maple on the back, sides and neck...and the abelone on the headstock is a tribute to the inlay gods. The v-shaped neck is just perfect for my hands, too.

    Anyway, for me, this is THE ONE. Glad to see you guys are happy with yours too. Frankly, I expected to wind up with a 'burst like everyone else, but in the end, your mando should make you smile when you see it and smile more when you hear it, yes? And this one does it for me.

    Post a pic of yours if you feel like it. I'm such a mandovoyeur! Cheers, Benski
  15. Mandomaiden
    What strings are you using on your Goldrush? I'm hearing good things about GHS Silk and Bronze, but haven't tried them yet.

  16. Benski
    I put a set of GHS Silk & Bronze's on about 3 months ago and I'm VERY happy with them. They are much softer on your fingers than the D'Addario Phosphor Bronze 76's I originally had on there, and they emphasized the deeper tones, which I like. I get in at least an hour a day, plus some weekend fun, and they're just now starting to indicate time for a change, so their longevity ain't bad. Overall, I'm very pleased with them and would recommend them.

    I did get a set of the JazzMando JM-11's which I want to try next as I'm curious about how flatwounds would feel. I hear they are softer yet than the Silk & Bronze's and have rich tone also.

    Hope this helps. Cheers, Benski
  17. Mandomaiden
    I'll be interested to hear what you think of the JM-11's; they were the other option I considered...for the moment, I'm looking forward to getting the GHS Silk & Bronze I've ordered, and seeing if my experience is the same as yours.
    Sure hope so!
  18. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    Sorry to switch gears, but I have news you might find interesting. I visited Janet Davis music in Bella Vista Ar. on Friday and played a mandolin that just shook my world. I've picked Gibson Sam Bush mandolins, two to be precise, and although they were nice, they were just very nice, very expensive mandos. This beast in Arkansas is not nice. I played a Yellowstone, Gibby Fern and a Bridger mandola that was sweet. I was going to leave without looking at the Bush. I had seen them before, wasn't interested. But I took it out and hit a chop. I about fell over. Loud does not begin to describe the sound. I could feel the vibration in my feet. Even among the most expensive, that mandolin is special. I'm not a buyer. I've got one that exeeds my ability to play it. Even so, I spent the afternoon thinking of what I'c have to sell off to raise that kind of scratch. If anyone is looking at buying in that price range, I cannot believe that you could do better. That is one VERY special mandolin.
  19. Bernie Daniel
    Bernie Daniel
    Very cool Mike. I am kind of partial to the Bush models too simply because I like the 30's motif (a script "Gibson") as well as the 1 3/16 inch nut.

    In reality all of the F-9's, F-5G's, F-5 Ferns and F-5 Signatures are made in exactly the same way so it is just a matter of chance as to which one sounds "the best".

    So picking a ordinary Gibson F (i.e., not an MM or a DMM) is merely a matter of deciding which style (appearence and of course nut width) you want and then finding a killer example of that model.

    Obvious some of you guys already have -- I count myself in that group I have a Fern that I think some would kill for -- just lucky in my case as I bought it from the Mandolin Store -- although Dennis assured me it was a good one.

    Yes Gibson is not a perfect company but really I would not dream of playing anything else in mandolins -- call me crazy, call me sentimental, call me a dreamer --whatever!
  20. Fred G
    Fred G
    I have been using EXP 75s on my Gold Rush and am happy with them. I have been really happy to find a mandolin with a sound I really like. Constant compliments from people on the sound. and of course it looks nice too but that was not the reason I bought it.
  21. Benski
    Well, I wore out the GHS Silk and Bronze strings and strung up the GR with the JazzMando's. Sounded good for the first day or two and then, for some reason, just started sounding very much so, that I went rummaging thru my drawers and found an ancient set of Gibson 80/20 Bronze wounds and put them on...sounded good. Ran them for a few days until the new GHS S&B's I ordered from FQM showed up in the mail and I am now happily playing them again. They're my favorite so far, but I'll give those EXP 75's of yours a shot on the next bounce, Fred. Ultimately, I know I'm gonna wind up breaking down and springing for those TI Starks.....

    So,'d you make out with the Silk and Bronze's?
  22. hank
    I've been so happy with the tone and feel of my Rush I haven't used anything but the Gibson Bill Monroe strings that Gibson recommended for it.
    Sounds like the GHS silk & bronze and Exp. 75 are giving good results. What are TI Stark's? How much change in tone and feel are you getting from your string changes. Since none of you have meandered back to the Monroe strings you must prefer these other choices.
  23. Mandomaiden
    Just returned from the Mandolin Symposium, and I'm very pleased with the way the GHS Silk and Bronze worked out. Much easier on my fingers (a big consideration by the time you're looking at late-night jams several days in a row) and I really like the sound.
    Looks like it will be awhile before I try anything else, especially after your experience with the JM-11s.
    BTW--Janet Davis Music has them at a great price--6/$31.95 or 12/61.93. Pretty much the same as FQMS, it seems.
    So...thanks for the recommendation!
  24. hank
    Wow, $34.50 a set for T.I.'s that's a little rich for my budget. Still couldn't find Starks or mittles designation at Thomastik Infeld web site though. I had about decided to go with S&B LSB 250's after doing a string thread search here. J.D. was the best price I could find as well. Anyone tried both silk&steel and silk&bronze to A/B the wound strings?
  25. Ancient
    I just bought a new Gibson F5G last week. I have held off on Gibson because of their problems in the past. I was in a music store on vacation and picked up this F5G just to see what it sounded like and took it home. I own several mandolins but this is my first Gibson. This mandolin sounds like it is going to be a good one.
  26. hank
    Congratulations Ancient. These social groups don't update you when there's been a posting so they get forgotten and responses are slow. Anyway welcome to the group. How's your new F5G?
  27. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    Very cool, Ancient. My '05 F5G and I are so bonded, at this point, that I seldom look at other F5s. There are plenty that sound better, but it sounds like mine. The folks at Gibson have it dialed in. Has anyone played the new oval hole mandos? I was dumbstruck to hear that they're making an F5G OVAL! I've gotta play that one.
  28. Ancient
    Thanks for the welcome. My new F5G is sounding better every day. I notice changes in it every time I play it. It had a good sound when I bought it and seems to be getting better. I did change the strings. I put the Bill Monroe strings on it and to me they were pretty tight feeling. I played it that way for a couple of days and then changed to J74s. The mandolin sounds better to me with the J74s.
  29. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    There are soooooo many strings recommended by good pickers on the cafe, that experimenting with them all would take years. I'd like to try Gibson monels and Sam Bush strings, but always order EXP 74s. I know that they sound good and outlast the J series. Still, a little experimentation would maybe learn me somthing. By the way, Ancient, the harder you whip that F5G, the faster it'll start getting that hollow-log sound.
  30. Mark Seale
    Mark Seale
    First, I'm new to the social group, so I hope not to step on any toes... I just wanted to post a short correction to the original post. The instrument that served as the prototype for the Gold Rush was a project put together by Joe Vest and became the only cross-braced Derrington signed Master Model. It is the blond varnish finish with tortoise binding. It is a KILLER mandolin and a work of art. V-70781

  31. Benski
    Greetings all. Havent stopped by this end of the woods since the summer. Glad to see everyone is still here. To pick up on the string discussion, I put a set of Sam Bush's on my GR back in August and I'm very, very happy with them. They've held up great and give my 'Rush that deeper hollow sound that I like. Anyway, I'd suggest y'all give them a try.

    Cheers and have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
  32. woodwizard
    Gotta try those Sam Bush strings on my GR someday day. I've had a couple of sets of TI starks and they were really nice sounding but are a little pricey. I always seem to go back to the med. EXP 74's and Elixirs. They haven't let me down.
  33. Mike Snyder
    Mike Snyder
    Get on those Bush strings, wizard! My F5G took a big jump when I switched from EXP 74s. I like a very dark sound and like some volume. I was really suprised and pleased with the improvement.
  34. woodwizard
    Those Bush strings will be my next test. Thanks
  35. Benski
    Benski here it is almost a year later... Last spring, I sent my GR down to Big Joe for a refret/setup. It came back sounding great. When I asked him what he had strung it up with, he told me D'Addario J-74's. I've been happily using them ever since. They do take a few days to "simmer down" when newly changed, but once the settle in, they really ring, have good bottom and hold their tone for a long time. If you havent tried them, you should.
    Cheers, Benski
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